Fogo

 

Fogo is the Island with an active volcano.

Fogo (Portuguese for “fire”) is the most prominent island of the Sotavento group of Cape Verde: it rises to nearly 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) above sea level at its summit, Pico do Fogo.

One of the southernmost islands in Cape Verde, Fogo is located between the islands of Santiago and Brava. Practically the whole island is a stratovolcano that has been periodically active: it last erupted in 2014. The largest volcanic feature is a nine kilometres (5.6 miles) caldera, which has walls one kilometre (0.62 miles) high. The caldera has a breach in its eastern rim, and in the centre a resurgent dome with an ash cone that forms the highest point of the island: its summit is about one hundred m higher than the surrounding caldera wall. Lava from the volcano has reached the eastern coast of the island within historical times.

The most recent eruption at Fogo began with lava flows emerging from fissure vent at the base of Pico on 23 November 2014, and continued through 8 February 2015 according to OVCV; the flows covered about 4 km2 of land. The villages of Portela and Bangaeira, located 4-5 km NW of Pico with a combined population of about 1,000 residents, were not spared during the 2014-15 eruption as they had been in 1995; both villages were largely destroyed , although their inhabitants were safely rescued. The eruption began from a fissure near the 1995 vent, but it soon emerged from multiple vents along the fissure with Strombolian activity, explosions, lava fountains, and ash emissions.

The island’s main city is São Filipe, near which is an airport. Fogo is largely an agricultural island. It has fertile land in the south-west with a slope of about ten to fifteen degrees. The north and the east are steeper. The island rises abruptly from the ocean, which can be as deep as 5,300 metres (17,400 feet) at a distance of five kilometres (3.1 miles) from the shoreline. The exception is to the west, where the island is connected to another seamount; further west in Brava.

The steep slopes in the north-eastern part are green and grassy all year round. The rest of the mountain is dry and barren, its dry creeks and streams are dry washes.

São Filipe’s buildings use classic Portuguese colonial architecture. Mosteiros in the north-east is the island’s second most important town.

A violent eruption took place in 1680, forming a new cone that was visible over hundreds of kilometres but lasted only for a few years. It was during this eruption that the island earned its name.